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2750 Permanent Deacons in France

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Beginnings

The decision to restore the diaconate in France was taken by the French Bishops in 1966, and the first Ordination took place in 1970.
In 2020, fifty years later, the Church in France Registers 2750 permanent deacons.
What is the face of the French diaconate?

  • 90% are married, 6% single and 4% are widowers
  • They split into two Groups: those in professional life (64%) and those retired (36%)with an average age of 67 years.

Opportunities

In France, deacons are not mainly engaged in parish work, but definitely in the professional secular world. Their mission is not essentially oriented within the Church, but towards the lay world. Still, the three axes of the deacon ministry develop around Charity, Word and Liturgy.

Challenges

  • Though the diaconate has been restored for fifty years, it remains difficult for Christians to clearly understand what a deacon « is ».
  • Surely, because of the growing shortage of priests, there is a tendency for deacons to focus on liturgical tasks.

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Goals

  • In a society which is no longer christian, deacons seem to stand in the right place, thanks to their twofold identity which make them the go- betweens two entities, Church and world.
  • Considering the history of the early Church, why not reconsidering the diaconate for women ?

Patrice und Marie Maincent


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